Reading with audio: Audiobooks and Text-to-Speech

I've always seemed to struggle reading a lot of books. I look around at the number of books some people read a year and I'm blown away. I used to credit it to being a slow reader, but I later proved that wasn't the problem. I just didn't understand why I struggled with reading books so much.

That said, I read a lot. All the time. A lot of non-fiction in short form, like articles or blog posts. It was books, and especially fiction ones, where I struggled most. It was always so frustrating because I love reading and always want to be reading more. 

My son, who is autistic, has been amazing at reading but over the past few years has transitioned to reading mostly with audio. Some of it is confidence I think as reading out loud can be embarrassing or what have you. But his struggle and transition to audio made me realize maybe that was part of my problem. 


I first started with trying out audiobooks. I read through several short stories I'd always wanted to read, such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I've gone through a lot of short stories and novellas since then. I do continue to struggle with longer stuff, as I struggle to hold a schedule on reading. But creating and maintaining routines is something I struggle with in general. 

I try to stick to shorter works for the most part. That doesn't surprise me and it's satisfying to get through another book. I recently got through Drive by James Sallis and am now working on a re-reading of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (first time in audiobook format though). 

It's been exciting and I keep pushing forward. And even the longer books I started I still intend to finish; it just may take me longer and coming and going in spurts. 

Text-to-Speech, schooling. 

This past December as I was getting ready for my first term at SNHU, going back to school after many years, one of the things I committed to was using Text-to-Speech in reading. I looked around at a few and the one I decided to try was Natural Reader (which I've installed on this blog for all of us). I'm fortunate enough that the learning management system that SNHU uses has a built-in reader that works well. But not all their content or PDFs use it, which has resulted in me using Natural Reader a lot. I also like Microsoft Edge's. PDF text reader. 

I have sleep apnea and the Text-to-Speech services help with that as well. It's easier to focus and harder to dose off. 😴 


Do you read via audiobooks? Do you use Text-to-Speech to read the web? Do you struggle reading, why is that? How do you cope and make it work? Sound off in the comments. I'd love to get a discussion going around this. I still don't feel like I've solved all my issues in reading, but I've come a long way.